The Aggression against Bosnia

The brutal aggression and the process of disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, followed by the interruption of cooperation with former business partners, caused big problems in the industry sector and led toward the interruption of production. Most industrial facilities were destroyed. There were massive migrations of workers followed by intensive destruction of infrastructure (electroenergetic system, water supply, telecommunications and transport). The inability to reach foreign markets and the impossibilities of communications produced a lack of raw materials and spare parts.

The electroenergetic system of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina functioned within the European Countries Network (UCPTE) as a part of the former Yugoslavia (SFRY) electroenergetic system. Judging by the volume of constructions and advanced technical equipment, the electroenergetic system (EES) of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was among the most modern systems and had a significant material base.

During the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, some parts of the EES were occupied, and some were greatly damaged. The power generating capacities occupied by the aggressors were 1,096 MW, out of which were 496 MW in hydroelectric power plants, and 600 MW in thermo-power plants, and an additional two coal mines for the thermo-power plants. In the transmission network, all 14 long distance lines were damaged or were located on the occupied territory.

The aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina resulted in damage or occupation of the production capacities for crude oil and lubricants refining. The reservoir space and fuel stations were to a great extent destroyed.

The aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, including robberies and war activities, provoked great damages in agriculture and in livestock raising. The livestock numbers were reduced by 60 to 73%. Orchards and vineyards, spread on 100,000 hectares in Bosnia and Herzegovina, were devastated. Besides the direct destruction, the most damage was produced by inadequate application of technology and non-maintenance. Thus, the greatest part of Bosnia's agricultural capacity is near total collapse.

The entire telecommunication network was interrupted by the war activities and aggression. Many sites were destroyed and looted, and certain parts were occupied with the intention of creating a total telecommunication blockade. The great material damages are estimated to be US $600 million in the telecommunication network. The network was totally broken. The temporary and improvised connections of low capacities were introduced without corresponding infrastructure.

Great damages were done to the radio and TV network. The relay station on Bjelasnica was completely destroyed, and the equipment was stolen. Many buildings were damaged, and 6 relay stations and buildings of the TV transformers were left under the aggressors' control. The network was reduced to a single relay or emission station in Sarajevo and to about 50 nonconnected buildings and TV transformers. The damages were estimated at US $1.8 million.

The road network was severely damaged as well. In areas where the war activity was high, the damages were produced by the deliberate destruction of the complete road structure. About 35% of the total categorized road networks were damaged. The bridges were mostly destroyed. About 40% out of the total bridges' length were destroyed. Destroyed bridges were of great span and complex construction (5 on the Sava river, and 12 big bridges on the Neretva river). The total damages on the Bosnia and Herzegovina territory were estimated at US $250 million.

The railway network was greatly damaged by the war activities. More than 14 bridges and 310 business buildings were damaged or destroyed; the contact network, the electric engines and the signal security installations were damaged. The total damages were estimated at US $120 million. With additional damages from theft and looting, the total amount will be six times higher.

The civil aviation infrastructure was greatly destroyed and had high material damages. Almost all radio navigation instruments are now unable to function. The enterprises of the air industry were destroyed and technological equipment was stolen. The damage estimations are not possible for the time being because of continuing war instability. The Sarajevo Airport was greatly damaged, and the equipment was stolen.

Bosnia's cultural heritage was deliberately targeted by the war activities. More than 1,200 religious and cultural objects, especially those connected to the Islamic tradition, were destroyed or badly damaged. Some of them were practically leveled to the ground. The list of cultural destruction includes the famous mosques in Banja Luka and Foca, the old bridge in Mostar, the historical centers of the markets (Sarajevo, Mostar, Pocitelj, Stolac, Travnik, Banja Luka, Tesanj, Maglaj, Gradacac, and others), the Muslim graveyards and pilgrimages (such as Prusac near Bugojno), and other buildings whose architectural and historical value which can not be estimated. Beside the devastation of the Islamic culture, there was also much damage done to other religious communities' buildings, such as Roman Catholic churches, monasteries, cemeteries, religious schools (115 buildings were damaged), the Jewish religious buildings (the Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo and Moshe Danon grave near Stolac), and a relatively small number of the Christian Orthodox religious buildings.

In 1991, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, there were 1,205,641 households with 1,315,756 apartments. The average area per capita was 16.96 square meters and the average apartment size was 55.48 square meters. The aggressors have forcibly looted, destroyed and occupied the apartments. According to the information of The Institute for Architecture, Urbanism and Planning in Sarajevo, 24,000 flats were destroyed and 330,000 damaged.

According to data given for 66 communities under Bosnian government control in 1993, the total damages to government owned apartments were estimated at DM 1,269,322,942; and damages to privately owned apartments were estimated at DM 4,815,611,236. The estimated damages to elementary, secondary and university buildings were DM 248,951,038; to health care buildings, DM 55,004,506; to industrial and public buildings, DM 4,211,522,011.

The war activities, directly and indirectly, changed the structure and dynamism of the environment and ecosystems. Changes in the physical, chemical, biological and ecological systems, which are mutually connected, were taken as the indicators for the changes in the living environment.

Water supplies were endangered during the war. Some settlements didn't have water at all, because the water sources were on the occupied territory. Because of the numerous refugees, the situation in some regions was extremely difficult (Sarajevo, Mostar, Gorazde, Zenica, etc.). Whole settlements and towns were destroyed, industrial facilities and the systems of drainage and refining of waste waters were damaged or destroyed as well, so dangerous materials came into open waterstreams.

The natural and urban environments were damaged as well. In Sarajevo alone, about 40,000 grown trees were cut. Thus, the ecosystem of Sarajevo was deprived of 3-4 million liters of water daily which should have been returned to the atmosphere by transpiration. The great woods areas were damaged, especially those near settlements, because there were no other sources of fuel for heating and cooking.

The natural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina had intensive changes. Numerous protected natural reservations were devastated. Protected trees, varieties of plants and animals were destroyed as well. In the Botanic Garden of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, very old and rare trees were damaged. Bosnia and Herzegovina had about 350 varieties of endemic plants and more subvarieties, variants and forms. It was a genofund of unestimated value. Most of those varieties were listed in the "Red European Book" which indicated their endangered status even in peaceful conditions.

Methodologically, the damages can be classified in five groups:

  1. Human property: physical and psyche integrity, moral integrity of the personality and earnings;
  2. The specific State assets: State system, State income, the loss of the active population, army and police costs, population provisions, health care costs of the wounded and the sick, costs of provisions and prequalification for persons with disabilities, provision and schooling of the orphans;
  3. Property: personal property and household assets, buildings, equipment and transport means, agricultural properties, woods assets, means of work and inventory, raw materials, semiproducts and products, and revenue from business affairs;
  4. Environment: the ecological damages in the air, water, on the ground, energetic and mineral resources, ecosystems and national parks, reservations, gardens and other natural rarities;
  5. Cultural and historical heritage: immobile heritage, mobile heritage and museums, museum collections and archive materials and publications.

Damages were about US $4 billion on the big infrastructure systems: electroenergetic system, gas system, telecommunications, railways, roads, water, civil aviation and airports, TV and radio stations and installations.


The aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina resulted in significant demographic changes (refugees and displaced persons). There have been great migrations of people as a consequence of the ethnic cleansing and human rights violations. About 1,200,000 refugees and 912,000 displaced persons have been registered up to now. On the territory now under the legal Republic/Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Authority there are 2,117,568 inhabitants. According to the 1991 Census there were 4,354,911 inhabitants in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


According to the official data, the total number of killed and missing persons has been 144,379 since the beginning of the aggression. The true number is generally estimated to be much bigger. There were 168,526 registered cases of wounded persons of which 75,472 persons were seriously wounded. There have been 12,000 people with disabilities and at least 1,314 persons with one amputation.


The war has had negative influences on the physical and mental health of each individual. Beside the mentioned number of the persons with disabilities, there are a great many people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Malnutrition was very widespread because of the blockade of towns and insufficient food supply. The general immunity of the population was reduced and morbidity increased, especially in the case of the infectious diseases (enterocolitis, hepatitis A, tuberculosis, fever, etc.). The very serious epidemiological situation is still under the control of our experts. Interruption of the regular garbage transport brings health risks because of the great number of rodents transmitting infectious diseases. Lack of drinking water, electric energy, gas and basic hygienic needs, produces a further burden on the population living in damaged houses and refugee camps. The newborn mortality increased to 16.11% in 1994. The general mortality rate was 7.3% in 1994. The birth rate was reduced from 14.1% in 1991, to 9.6% in 1994. The leading diseases on the free territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the following:

  1. the acute infection of the upper respiratory organs,
  2. wounds,
  3. mental disturbances and disturbances in behavior,
  4. circulatory system diseases,
  5. bone and muscular system diseases, and